My Idea’s CRY MFER will make you cry then laugh through the tears

Lily Konigsberg and Nate Amos talk to The FADER about the making of their debut album and share an exclusive stream ahead of its release.

April 21, 2022
My Idea’s <I>CRY MFER</i> will make you cry then laugh through the tears My Idea   OK McCausland

The idea that making an album could be a life-changing experience seems like more of a dream than a reality. For Lily Konigsberg and Nate Amos of My Idea, however, making CRY MFER upended a lot of things in their lives, providing clarity on the nature of their relationship and leading both of them to commit to sobriety. “The album was made during a period when both of our lives were changing very quickly,” Amos says. “We were both in a state of flux. We entered and exited the making of the album as very different people. The album is almost a commentary on messy beginnings and endings to relationships.”


Amid the chaos of working out whether they were best friends or maybe more (they settled on just friends) as well as dealing with the chaos of their drinking habits, the pair leaned into making their debut album together. “Crutch” is arguably the centerpiece of the album and finds Konigsberg dealing with a relationship with a bandmate that has become both painful and comforting at the same time. “I’m hanging on you cause you’re my crutch,” she sings over chirpy guitars. “Silence, sadness, pain, gladness. I’m into all that stuff.”

If that sounds like a heavy introduction to a DIY indie rock album then don’t fear. Fans of Palberta member Konigsberg, whose 2021 solo debut We Need To Talk Now was playful and heartbreaking, and Amos’ work in Water From Your Eyes will be instantly at ease with CRY MFER. My Idea is an open environment where experimentation and pop coalesce, each pulling the other back from being too abstract or predictable.


There’s a great sense of goofy humor running through the album, too. On “Lily’s Phone” Konigsberg breaks up her sugary melodies with a belch, as if she’s gorged on them for too long. “Breathe You,” meanwhile, is a seductive Auto-Tune-drenched jam that began life with Amos making fun of a Justin Bieber song while recording at home. It’s split between lyrics you can imagine hearing on Spotify-friendly hits (“something in the way you move”) and others that simply wouldn’t (“just makes me want to shave my head”). Together Konigsberg and Amos have an exuberant dynamic that opens them up for both open-hearted revelation and knock-around fun at the same time. This humane approach to songwriting infuses CRY MFER with a personal touch that makes a My Idea song feel less like an announcement and more like a letter from a friend.

The album is available tomorrow, April 22, via Hardly Art but is streaming in full exclusively via The FADER now. Hit play below and read on for an interview with Konigsberg and Amos about their time making the record.


The FADER: Do you remember when you first met each other? What were your first impressions?

Lily Konigsberg: Nate and I knew of each other for a few years and rarely talked. I knew he was talented, though I didn’t know how talented until I got to know him in August 2020 of August. A few days into meeting him I was wondering where this person had been all my life.


Nate Amos: Lily and I had peripherally known each other and had conversations about making music together at shows. We met up to discuss working on her solo album and ended up making the first song, to completion, in about four hours. We realised quickly that there was a lot of creative chemistry between us. We started writing together within 24 hours.

The album represents a chaotic period for both of you and ultimately a pivotal moment in your respective lives. Do you feel you would be in the place you are now if you hadn't started making this record together?

LK: I would like to think that we would have been approaching sobriety or in sobriety without Covid, the album, and meeting each other, but I can’t be certain. I think these things sped up my arrival to my rock bottom and really made it clear that things were going to get really bad unless they changed drastically.


NA: We’re both somewhere around eight months sober now. That’s a big thing when I listen to this album. We both had addictions that were out of control and were having a very tangible effect on both of our lives. I think it accelerated the process. I was heading in that direction already though It’s not like everything was going great and then I made this album So I guess ‘Kind of’ is the answer to that. It’s hard to tell if it played a role in that transition or is just a very accurate documentation of the whole period.

"Crutch" feels like the center point of the album in many ways. How does it feel listening back to that song now, having come out the other side of it?

LK: Yeah, it’s pretty much literally a document of how I felt in September of 2021 and how painful it was. I felt helpless even though I was the only one that had the capacity to change the situation. I actually am not ready to listen to that song yet, I need a bit more time.


I was curious as to the effect sobriety is having on your creativity. This album was made while you were both drinking, which you have now stopped. Have you noticed any differences when writing songs recently?

LK: I have noticed that I feel like I have a lot less motivation, but what it really is is a fear that whatever I write will make me feel too much. I’m scared of what will come out of me. I have made a decision to change this and just bite the bullet and write an album about the fallout that has followed CRY MFER.

NA: There was a reset period for me. I always approached making music in this binge format where I focused on a project and did nothing else until it was done. That was just how I organized my time. I thought that would go away and for the first 3-4 months that I wasn’t drinking, writing was really hard. Like pulling teeth. I’ve been writing new Water From Your Eyes stuff recently, though, and have gone back to that way of working. I thught it was going to be harder until December and then it clicked back into place. It feels more intentional now, though, and I remember making the music.


The album touches on a lot of different sounds and styles. Where did you feel most out of your comfort zone, would you say?

NA: There are a couple of songs where I sing with AutoTune that are very far out of my comfort zone. Stylistically, though, I operate with drastically different aesthetics in my solo work so there are no real outliers here. If anything, we cut all the really crazy stuff.

LK: I definitely felt confused when Nate’s bluegrass roots entered the songs. The timing and feel around those moments totally baffled me but I love the way they sound.


You have described the sound of CRY MFER as "truth or dare pop." Can you elaborate a little?

LK: How far can I push this? Am I crazy if I leave this lyric in? Those are the kind of questions I asked myself during the writing of this album. Usually I just said fuck it and did the crazy thing I was gonna do.

"Breathe You" showcases the mainstream pop influence on the album. Does the idea of going to LA and plugging into that big machine-like environment appeal to you guys? Would you want to write a song for Justin Bieber?


LK: Yes! If anyone has the in please hit my line. Please. I would love to write a song for Bieber.

NA: I can’t imagine ever being a part of that community. I don’t think I could keep my cool for long enough. The idea of this project was to get as close to that experience within the confines of our own weird processes.

There's a sense of humor that runs through the record, particularly on songs like “Lily's Phone” and “Baby I'm The Man.” That lightness feels something of a rarity in the current indie music scene, do you have any insight into why the landscape feels a little self-serious right now?


NA: Everything is about context and if you present everything as serious then there’s nothing lighter to make you appreciate those moments. I love metal and Scott Walker; the supposed scary and spooky end of music but there’s nothing less scary to do than write a song. Comedy and tragedy live side by side yet people tend to pick one place on that spectrum and sink into it. I think people worry about being taken seriously if they tried to incorporate sillier ideas. For me, though, that’s crucial to framing the heavier ideas.

LK: You can take yourself seriously but also simultaneously poke fun at yourself. Isn’t that the whole point of being alive? An artist that takes themselves too seriously immediately sends me to cringe village. Life is so fucked up we have to laugh about it. Funny people are the most healing people.

What message would you give to anyone who feels a little stuck and like they need a big life change but is nervous to make the leap?


NA: I would say that no matter how stuck you feel, change is possible. When this album was made I found the idea of going two hours without alcohol impossible. So the idea of going eight months would have been laughable. It was a rocky transition for sure but sometimes in order to change you have to push way outside your comfort zone.

LK: It's going to be really hard and may feel like it’s the wrong decision sometimes, but you will know deep down that you are doing the right thing. Don’t let the difficulty of your life change bring you down completely. The power is in you. I’m a mess who knows I’m doing the right thing.

My Idea’s CRY MFER will make you cry then laugh through the tears